American University saves money and emissions with LED lighting

This blog is from our new series highlighting last year’s Campus Ecology Case Studies as we announce the call for 2010-2011 case studies.

Infinilux Low Bay Solid State LED light
In 2008, American University (AU) signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. In 2010, AU adopted a Green Building policy, requiring LEED standards for new construction and major renovations. One of the projects to benefit from these two resolutions was AU’s Spring 2010 installation of LED (light-emitting diode) lights in the School of International Service (SIS) parking garage, and in lamps along outdoor campus walkways. By using LEDs as opposed to traditional metal halide lights, AU will be able to save money on electricity and replacement costs, as well enhance the safety and aesthetics of the building and surrounding areas.

According to AU’s website, “Infinilux Solid State Low Bay Lights were chosen for the garage because of “the low glare, robust design and incredibly low power consumption,” said Architect Michael R. Purcell, AIA, LEED AP. Spring City Electrical’s Washington-style lights were selected for the lampposts. The garage LEDs last 50,000-70,000 hours, compared to metal halide lights, 50% of which fail after just 15,000 hours. As a result, the LEDs reduce replacement purchases by about three times.

The SIS installation is the first of its kind in the Washington D.C. area and is becoming a demonstration site for the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, AU is researching opportunities to retrofit other lighting fixtures on campus with LEDs.

The Spring City Electrical LED walkway lamps are enclosed with globes that are opaque on top and transparent on the sides so light reflects downward where people walk instead of some of the light being emitted upward into the sky, disrupting adjacent neighborhood activities. This prevents light pollution and supports the Night Sky Initiative. Additionally, the longer-lasting LEDs reduce the frequency of burn outs, thus enhancing safety in the parking lot and walkways.

Environmental benefits from the parking garage installation alone include:

  • 20.2 kW of power saved
  • 635,000 tons of CO2e avoided
  • Equal to permanently taking 194 cars off the road

Due to their high efficiency, the parking garage LED installation alone (not including the walkway LEDs) is expected to save $135,000 in electricity costs over the first five and a half years, and an additional savings of $23,000 in labor costs by avoiding bulb and parts replacements.

More information about American University’s campus greening initiatives can be found on their website.

This and hundreds of other case studies are available in the full NWF Campus Ecology Case Study archives.